© NZPocketGuide.com
© NZPocketGuide.com

A Roadie to the Timber Trail and Laura Makes it Rain!

© NZPocketGuide.com

314 Days on the Road

We wake up to the sound of pattering on the roof of the Kings Lodge in Ohakune. Oh, it’s going to be one of those days is it? We are meant to be doing the first part of the two-day Timber Trail today, but looking outside, we are in no hurry to leave. Luckily, it is possible to do the second day of the bike trail from the Timber Trail Lodge, situated in the heart of the Pureora Forest Park. So for today, it looks like we’re going on a roadie instead!

But since we have some spare time this morning, and the Kings Lodge has a cafe – an indoor-and-out-of-the-rain cafe, might we add – serving breakfast, Laura decides that today is the day! Today is the day to apply for her tax refund – wahoo!

Breakfast and tax refund

It’s a happy day for any backpacker when the financial year ends and they can apply for a tax refund. By just filling up a few forms, it’s money in the bank. Admittedly, Laura has had the notification on her phone from Taxback.com for about a month now to get her tax refund from when she worked in New Zealand early last year. She brings up the Taxback app on her phone, fills out details such as her earnings last year and how much tax she paid and BAM! $842! Although it will take a few weeks to appear on Laura’s bank account, we can’t deny that that money will sure come in handy, especially when on the road!

How getting $842 was a breeze

Laura looked into Taxback.com a while ago so she knew what documents and information to keep from when she worked in New Zealand. As last the last financial year has come to an end, she finally was able to apply for her tax refund and it has been a breeze. She could even take photos of the documents to send to Taxback, because, let’s be honest, who travels with a scanner?!

A rainy day over the Central Plateau

Feeling fuller after breakfast and fuller in the wallet, we decide to hit the road to the Timber Trail Lodge about two hours away. We have no plan really, other than if the rain stops, we stop and find something to do!

On the same road that we were able to see the three volcanoes of Mt Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro the other day, now all we see is grey. Our heads are literally in the clouds right now. However, just as we hit National Park Village, the rain seems to die off a bit. We take the opportunity to take a quick detour to a super quick walk we spotted when we travelled to Mt Ruapehu a few days earlier. Ten minutes later, we arrive at the car park for Tawhai Falls. Understandably, we are the only ones here.

The rain is making Tawhai Falls rage right now!

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A short walk to Tawhai Falls

Nevertheless, the rain has been reduced to light spray on our faces, so we take the 15-minute walk from the car park through a section of low vegetation – all the hard stuff that you expect in an alpine environment. The vegetation quickly turns to mossy native bush. The trees look all the more green thanks to being soaking wet!

We arrive at the upper lookout of Tawhai Falls where we see a pretty raging river tumbling over the edge into a pool below. Some say that Tawhai Falls is a Lord of the Rings location, but honestly, we don’t see it. But we do see a pretty awesome waterfall though!

It’s a few steps down a vibrant beech forest to the base of the falls where we can get some better photos. A few rocks to scramble over would make some EVEN better photos (that’s right, we said “even better”) but the rain is making them far too slippery for us to want to risk it. Back to the car it is!

Getting off the beaten track to the Timber Trail

A mix of rain and clouds accompanies us on our way through “The Kings Country” where rolling green hills make up farmland. Eventually, we turn off onto the road to the Timer Trail with an hour still left to go of the journey. How far off the beaten track are we going?!

Getting cosy at the Timber Trail Lodge

The single road turns to gravel road as we venture into pine forest then the native forest of the Pureora Forest Park. We spot an isolated building on top of a hill – that must be the Timber Trail Lodge! The signposts get us there easily where we park up and are greeted by the lodge hosts, Nicola and Clement. They show us around the place, which is pretty flash, especially for such an isolated lodge! Large windows from the lounge look out onto a huge decking area overlooking a forested valley.

Kitted up for tomorrow’s bike ride

While we’re lounging in the lodge, Paul from Epic Cycle Adventures arrives with our bike rental for tomorrow! He gets the seat level sorted and we have a quick test run around the parking lot. The mountain bikes seem great to us, as do the bike helmet which is necessary to wear in New Zealand. Paul describes the route we will be taking tomorrow, as well as how muddy it will be thanks to all the rain. He’ll be picking us up tomorrow at the end of the Timber Trail to bring us back to our car. Easy!

Games, good food and good vibes at the Timber Trail Lodge

As more guests arrive, we have a couple of games of Rummikub (woop woop!), tell each other quiz questions in beanbags by the fire, and tuck into a hearty meal thanks to our hosts: cheesy chicken and potato bake, parsnip fries, salad, bread and a some sort of fancy chocolate tart for dessert. It’s a great feed to get us prepared for tomorrow’s 45km cycle journey through the Pureora Forest Park on the Timber Trail.

A cosy dinner with our with our fellow lodge-dwellers

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